Synthetic greens are game-changing for small town Saskatchewan golf courses


Synthetic greens were a game-changer, according to a small-town Saskatchewan golf course.

The town of Luseland, located approximately 195 km west of Saskatoon, owns the Bell Acres Golf Course.

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Club treasurer Ryley Magnus said there were around 600 people in the community with a group of volunteers who took care of the sand greens ahead of this season.

“For us in the past they’ve always looked for some real grass greens, but we have a little course here that is just a municipal course,” said Magnus.

“Having real greens is not something that is financially feasible for us.

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“We decided to do the nine holes with synthetic greens… We started the project in May, then they finished the project in early June.”

With each green approximately 1,200 square feet, Magnus said it was a $ 110,000 to $ 120,000 project to install synthetic turf.

“Most of the time when the course is running at a loss… we fundraise through our community to keep the course going,” Magnus said.

“Maybe a month from now… we had the financing in place even before construction started.

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Magnus said they were happy with the change and it had increased traffic on the course.

“It created a lot of local buzz,” he said.

“We have a lot more people choosing to play golf here in town rather than going to another community. We have new golfers who are just starting to play golf. We now have people from other communities who come here to play golf, which was not the case before.

As long as the Bell Acres Golf & Country Club has records, 2021 has been its busiest season.

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“Typically we have about 60 to 70 members on our golf club here. These are the people who regularly play golf. They buy a membership. … This year we had almost 100, ”said Magnus.

“In terms of people who only pay green fees, we’re probably up… around 60%, so quite substantially for walk-ons.

“(That’s) $ 10 a day… on the honor system. We don’t have an attendant working in the clubhouse or something, so you just put your money in the cashier.

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Golf Saskatchewan General Manager and CEO Brian Lee believes there are 217 active courses in the province and at least three have synthetic greens.

“Grass seed, water, fertilizer, machinery and the human power to maintain them don’t come cheap. And with the synthetic… once you factor in the cost, you basically have little maintenance, ”Lee said.

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“The other benefit is, obviously, once you pay them off initially… those (synthetic) greens normally last 10 years and some will go up to 15-20.

“Do I see some cities doing it?” Absoutely. Especially if they’re going to go from what they currently have to oiled sand greens or a combination of these. This is certainly something that communities and nonprofit golf courses might see as a viable option. “

From a playability perspective compared to traditional greens, Lee said the putter challenge remains.

“Usually the putting offers are pretty quick (on synthetic)… so you’re going to have a good challenge. It all depends on how it’s presented, ”Lee said.

“Whether it’s a sand green, an artificial turf or a grass green, it’s still golf, so there’s no downside as long as you enjoy it with your family and friends and that you introduce young people to the game. ”

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Magnus said the synthetic greens have extended their season as well.

“Our neighboring golf courses and the like are starting to close now… it’s definitely an extra month that we are off the golf course,” Magnus said.

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“People can go out and play golf as soon as the snow is gone and it dries up a bit. And the same goes for the approach of autumn.

“Technically, until the tarps and fences are put around the synthetic greens. … We will probably do it here at the end of October, so the course will be open until whatever happens first.

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